Many of the games released on the Nintendo 64 have aged remarkably well, in fact a number of them are still considered must-play experiences to this day. But the years have not been so kind to the system’s signature controller. While the N64 arguably defined the console first person shooter (FPS) genre with games like “Goldeneye” and “Perfect Dark”, a modern gamer trying to play these classics with the preposterous combination of analog and digital inputs offered by the N64 controller is unlikely to get very far.
Of course, you could play N64 games in an emulator and use whatever controller you wish. But where’s the challenge in taking the easy way out? [Ryzee119] would much rather take the insanely complex route, and has recently completed work on an add-on board that let’s you use Xbox 360 wireless controllers on Nintendo’s 1996 console. He’s currently prepping schematics and firmware for public release, with the hope that support for additional USB controllers can be added by the community.
Nintendo historians may recall that the N64’s controllers had an expansion port on the bottom where you would connect such accessories as the “Rumble Pak” and “Controller Pak”. The former being an optional force feedback device, and the latter a rather oddly named memory card for early N64 games which didn’t feature cartridge saves. Only “90’s Kids” will recall the struggle of using the “Rumble Pak” when a game required the “Controller Pak” to save progress.
Thankfully [Ryzee119] has solved that problem by adding battery backed storage to his adapter along with some clever code which emulates the “Controller Pak”. Similarly, the “Rumble Pak” is emulated by the Xbox 360 controller’s built-in force feedback and a bit of software trickery. Specific button combinations allow for enabling and disabling the various virtual accessories on the fly.
But the best part of this modification might be how unobtrusive the whole thing is. Not only does it allow you to still use the original controllers and accessories if you wish, but it only requires soldering a handful of wires to the console’s motherboard. Thanks to the surprising amount of dead space inside the system’s case, it’s not even a challenge to fit the board inside. You do need to use the official USB Xbox 360 controller receiver, but even here [Ryzee119] opted to put a USB port on the board so you could just plug the thing in rather than having to cut the connector off and trying to solder it to the board yourself.
It probably won’t come as a surprise that this isn’t the first time [Ryzee119] has fiddled with the internals of a classic Nintendo system. We’ve previously covered his fantastic custom PCB to fit a Raspberry Pi Zero into a GameBoy Advance.
[Thanks to Gartral for the tip.]
[lovablechevy], aka the Queen of Bondo, has added another member to her Mushroom family of custom portable consoles. This time, it’s the HandyGen, an improved Sega Nomad. As an owner of the latter, we can attest that the Nomad had limitations, including its unwieldy size and shape, and its godawful battery life. As part of a build-off contest over at the Bacman forums , [lovablechevy] took apart a half-working Nomad and trimmed its board to fit into a smaller case of her own design, while retaining features such as the A/V out, headphone jack, and Player 2 controller port. She also bumped up the size of the screen, swapping in a new 4″ LCD and its corresponding controller board. The best improvement was increasing the battery life considerably; HandyGen uses 2 LiPo batteries lasting 7 hours instead of the Nomad needing 6AA’s that barely lasted two. HandyGen’s battery life is roughly double that of the GeneBoy, an earlier portable Genesis mod we’ve featured before.
[lovablechevy] always does a great job with her portables, from the Nintenduo to the HandyNES. Being avid PS fans, we also award her bonus points for testing out the HandyGen with Phantasy Star 4. Check out her video of the HandyGen after the break.
Continue reading “[lovablechevy] transforms a Nomad into the HandyGen”
Grab your favorite cartridge and violently blow into the end, because [Dave Nunez] is sending us on a nostalgia trip with his 3D printed portable NES. He takes the typical route of chopping up a Nintendo on a chip (NOAC) retro machine rather than sacrifice a real NES, and opts for a NiMH battery over lithium (which isn’t a bad idea; they can burst into flames if you charge them incorrectly). The battery life is, however, tolerable: 2.5 to 3 hours.
All the components are packed into a custom-made 3D printed PLA enclosure, which [Dave] kindly shares on thingiverse. He also decided to 3D print each of the buttons and their bezels/housings, which he then topped off by cutting acrylic sheets that seal up the front and back. As a final touch, [Dave] slips in some custom art under the acrylic and mounts a printed LED nameplate in the corner.
We’ve seen [Dave’s] work at Hackaday before, when he built a one-size-fits-all-consoles arcade controller.
[Callan Brown] wrote in to show us a really interesting NES audio hack. [Callen] decided that he wanted the full Castlevania III audio experience, which (without modifications) can only be had through the original Japanese Famicom console. [Callen] weighed a few adapter options, and instead decided to come up with his own.
The issue is that the Japanese Famicom and the American NES actually have a different cartridge connector. The change in hardware from a 60 pin to a 72 pin connector added “features” like the 10 pins connected directly to the expansion port (used for stuff like the teleplay modem, who knew). The other two additional pins are used by the annoying 10NES lockout chip. While they were at it, Nintendo decided to route the audio path through the expansion connector instead of the cartridge.
This means that the Japanese cartridges can’t pipe sound to the NES audio channel with just a pin adapter. Good news though, after sourcing a pin adapter hidden inside certain NES games (Stack Up, Gyromite), audio can easily just be pulled from the adapter PCB. This requires the more expensive Famicom Castlevania III cartridge (Akumajou Densetsu). To cleanly route the new audio cable out of his front loading NES [Callan] reuses the sacrificial adapter game’s cart to make some kind of unholy hybrid. To round it off [Callan] also goes over steps to flash a translated ROM to the Japanese game.
What difference could an extra two squares and a sawtooth make? Check out the sound comparison video after the jump! Thanks [Callan].
Continue reading “Adding Famicom audio channles to an NES without messing up the console”
The Queen of Bondo is back again, this time with an adorably small NES portable, the HandyNES.
When last saw [lovablechevy], she had just finished up her build of a Nintenduo, a build that stuffed an NES and SNES into a single box. The Nintenduo was such a clean build it would be a crime to let her talents go to waste, so [Lovablechevy] finished up one of the smallest NES portables we’ve seen.
The build is based on a top-loading NES with a 3.5″ screen. [rekarp]’s NES2 composite mod was used to get the NES and screen working together. Two LiIon batteries provide 3 hours of play time (with a low battery indicator, natch).
[lovablechevy] also included an AV out so she can connect her HandyNES to a larger CRT screen. Like our old Sega Nomad, this allows for a little two-player action – player one using the HandyNES and player two using an extra controller. Support for the Zapper was also included after modding the Zapper connection to a USB port.
Check out the video walkthrough after the break. To prove that her build isn’t a clone, [lovablechevy] also include a video of herself playing Battletoads past the point where the clones crash. Excellent work from the Queen of Bondo.
Continue reading “Adorable and small portable NES”
[lovablechevy] loves her Retro Duo console, especially since it takes up less space than the NES and SNES it has replaced. There’s a small problem though: the Retro Duo isn’t 100% compatible with her old Nintendo cartridges. Battletoads is a deal breaker for her, so she built Nintenduo, an NES/SNES console that uses all original Nintendo hardware.
The Queen of Bondo began her project with a top-loading NES and the smaller revision of the SNES. There’s a Photobucket gallery showing the innards lovingly placed in their new plastic home.
Not only can [lovablechevy] play classics like Paperboy, Donkey Kong Country, and the Super Mario RPG that are incompatable with the Retro Duo, all the accessories like the Zapper and Power Pad now work.
The finished build is very small; not much bigger than an SNES 2, and is nearly dwarfed by the gigantic NES cartridges. She posted a video of herself trying not to shoot the stupid Duck Hunt dog with her Nintenduo. Check it out after the break.
Continue reading “Nintenduo stuffs an NES and SNES in the same case”
Reminiscent of [Ben Heck]’s portable and laptop console mods, [Bandit5317] over at Xbox-Scene managed to fit the guts of an original Xbox into a custom-built slim case that measures just 2.5 centimeters thick. In his post, he describes some of the difficulties of cutting down a behemoth Xbox to a third of its original size, such as rewiring a custom IDE cable to avoid the extra 1/16-inch it would take to fold a standard one. The case is hand-crafted, (no laser cutter!) no-frills box made of painted polycarbonate, and man is it sexy. It is built off of a v1.4 motherboard running a third-party BIOS and with a 320GB laptop hard drive. Load up XBMC Media Center and you’ve got the slimmest home theater PC on the block.